Gene mutations associated with iron overload have been identified.
How food and nutrient intakes affect iron status in persons who may be at risk of iron overload because their genetic status is unknown.
Dr Janet Cade and colleagues from England determined the relation between nutrient intakes, HFE genotype, and iron status.
Foods and nutrients associated with iron stores, with adjustment for gene mutations associated with hemochromatosis, were explored.
The researchers designed a prospective cohort of women aged 35 to 69 years.
The participants provided information on diet through a questionnaire and food diary.
The research team reported that 6779 women in the cohort provided cheek cell samples, blood samples, or both.
|Age and body mass index were also associated with ferritin concentrations|
|American Journal of Clinical Nutrition|
The samples were genotyped for C282Y and H63D mutations, and 2489 women also had their iron status assessed.
The team investigated relations between serum ferritin and iron intake by using multiple linear regression, with adjustment for potential confounders.
The strongest dietary association with serum ferritin concentration was a positive association with heme iron and not with nonheme or total iron.
The researchers observed weaker positive associations with red and white meat.
The team noted negative associations with total energy and white and brown whole-meal bread, independent of genotype and other potential confounders.
The effect of genotype on ferritin concentrations primarily occurred after menopause.
The researchers found that at menopause a strong interaction between genotype and heme iron intake.
Other factors associated with serum ferritin concentrations were age, body mass index, blood donation, menopausal status, and HFE genotype.
Dr Cade's team concludes, “Postmenopausal women eating a diet rich in heme iron and who were C282Y homozygotes had the highest serum ferritin concentrations.”